When doing my research on Homemade Graham Crackers, I found a really interesting piece of history I just had to share. Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, invented graham crackers, also known as graham wafers, in 1829. They started out as an unsweetened or a mildly sweetened food. Over time, graham crackers have become what we now know as sugar or honey grahams.
The fun part about homemade graham crackers is they were originally created as a health food, specifically to suppress what Reverend Graham considered to be unhealthy carnal urges. Rev. Graham thought these urges were a source of many health issues. He believed that these ill health causing urges were the direct result of consuming crackers as a child. Among his many beliefs was you could curb one’s sexual appetite by eating bland foods… seriously. I wonder what he would think of the many s’mores that are now the main use of graham crackers today.
Wasn’t that a hoot? Now, let’s move on to my Homemade Graham Crackers recipe. After reviewing MANY different recipes, I landed on one from a cookbook in my library, “American’s Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook.” It’s a great recipe; I wouldn’t change a thing. They come out perfect every time.
Homemade Graham Crackers
Ingredients: Makes 3 ½ to 4 dozen crackers
- 1 ½ cups cup graham flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
- 5 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place two oven racks close together in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions in the oven. Prepare the butter and keep chilled in the refrigerator. Using a 13-cup food processor, combine the graham flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in the food processor for about 3 seconds until well blended. Add the chilled butter and process for about 15 seconds until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the water, molasses, and vanilla and process for about 20 seconds until it comes together to form a dough ball.
Remove the dough from the processor and divide the dough ball into 3 parts. Cover three with plastic to keep moist. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to form an (approximate) 11″ by 8″ rectangle that is ⅛” thick. You may need to add and subtract dough in different places to get the desired shape. With a ruler and knife, measure and trim the rolled out dough to a 10″ by 7 ½” rectangle. Mark and then score the rectangle of dough with a pastry cutter into twelve 2 ½” squares. Pierce each square several times with a fork. Note: Roll out any remaining dough, cut squares to size to finish making the crackers. Remove the top piece of parchment paper.
Carefully move the parchment paper with the rolled out and scored dough onto a separate baking sheet. Starting with two sheet pans, bake the crackers for 7 minutes then switch oven racks and rotate the baking sheets. Continue to bake the crackers for an additional 7 minutes or until the graham crackers are golden brown with firm edges. Carefully move the parchment with the baked crackers to a wire rack to cool completely. (Repeat the same process with the remaining sheet pans with the prepared cracker dough).
Transfer the cooled crackers to a cutting board. Gently break the crackers apart along the score lines. These homemade graham crackers can be stored in an airtight container on the counter or in a pantry for up to 2 weeks.
Notes: When compiling the ingredients for these homemade graham crackers, do not substitute graham flour for whole wheat; it will not work as well.
You can use a bowl and a pastry cutter in place of a food processor to mix the dry ingredients, incorporating the butter to the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. If you do this, add the water a little at a time to the mixture using your hands to form a ball of dough. Then follow the remaining directions from there.
When forming the rectangles for each piece of dough, I found I needed to add some dough from another piece to get the end result of 10″ x 7 ½”. The leftover dough was added back to the pieces of unused dough.
A MUCH easier way to make homemade graham crackers is to use a 2 ½ inch cookie cutter. Instead of being square they’ll be round. Roll out the dough between parchment sheets as instructed. Then use the cookie cutter to form the shapes very close together. Remove the excess and pierce each round with a fork. Continue to roll out the remaining dough, including the excess, until all is used to form round crackers. From that point follow the directions as directed.
I used the scoop and swipe method to ensure I have the correct measure of ingredients. When you’re scooping up the flour in a measuring cup or spoon, don’t be tempted to pack it in. Just let it be and then swipe off the excess to level the dry ingredients in the measuring cup or spoon. Trust me, it makes a difference.
In order to get the ⅛” thickness, I used a pastry board with adjustable sides and a straight flat rolling pin or you can use rolling pin bands on a pastry board. These tools really help to make that part of the recipe much easier, perfect for this recipe or anything that needs a consistent thickness.
These homemade graham crackers were amazing. They may look plain and simple, but they are anything but. When you pair these with my homemade marshmallows and a square of Ghirardelli dark chocolate, you have some truly amazing s’mores. We have a ton of company coming in a short while, making these a must. They will think they have died and gone to heaven.